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Scenery Updates : CZST Stewart and CYBD Bella Coola v1.5 by X-Plane.Org Life throws up some weird coincidences... When I did the excellent Thranda Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter review back in June I went back to a very old scenery for two reasons, one was in how after all these years is if the scenery still held up to it's status of a winner of the scenery of the year award (2016), and two to try out the now running v11.50 (Vulkan) feature of reflections. I had even planned to use the second of this series sceneries in Bella Coola as a basis for Thranda's next project in the announced Beaver DH-2. Both of these sceneries have now been released under the XPOrg banner or X-Plane.Org. Both sceneries were originally created by Beti-x or Peter Kubek, but the developer has not been involved in simulator for now quite sometime, that aspect puts the scenery into a major conflict, in that in reality it can be seen as abandoned(ware). In most cases a lot of product would date and sometimes quite substantially from this period and gradually fade away. But CZST Stewart and CYBD Bella Coola are not your average sceneries, they are as mentioned award winning sceneries and also far more significant than that in that for their time, as both sceneries predicted the future of scenery development and in features as in detail. In this situation both of the sceneries rights have been bought out by the XP.Org and also revised to current standards, in this aspect the sceneries get a refresh, but more importantly they will survive and carry on well into the simulators future, in this case the XP.Org has to be applauded to save this outstanding work for generations to come from just being a lost cause to the past. I found that in using CZST Stewart in the PC-6 review was that the scenery had indeed faired extremely well. It was released six years ago at about the mid-development point of X-Plane10, and six years in X-Plane development time is an extremely long time for any product to survive without any updates and through the significant changes of texture quality, PBR (Physical Based Reflections), baked burnt-in ambient occlusion effects and metal/glass grading.... but survive well it did. The original CZST Stewart review is here: Scenery Review : CZST Stewart by beti-x CZST Stewart, British Columbia First differences between 2014 and 2020 is of the different atmospheric feel that you have, plus the water effect is now far, far better. Having the Vulkan reflection feature active is also a huge bonus in creating a very realistic panorama, it is a superb feature and not to be underestimated here in Stewart. The CZST airfield itself is located by the Portland Canal, tricky is a word in that both approaches require skill and nerve to get right, but they are also both in return highly rewarding for the pilot. Stewart has only one asphalt runway (more of a sealed gravel strip). 18/36 (3872ft)- Elev. 24ft. CZST is nothing more than a clearing with a big double shed on it, calling it a hangar would be generous... and a smaller garage. There have been changes here since the original release and that is reflected in this updated version... the area to the south of the apron has been cleared, and this aspect has been well represented in this new version. So the apron feels now very open, compared to the more closed in field feel from before... Textures were groundbreaking (no pun intended) for the time, and simply some of the best worn asphalt and stone work you could dream of and it all comes with 3d grass and turf.... .... textures have the resolution of 2cm per pixel, an unheard of quality for the period and here they are still as refined and as highly realistic, but still also have that gritty quality we love, what is the word... exceptional. Outwardly the buildings look exactly the same. But they are quite different in that the textures have been again reworked and refined to modern methods with burnt-in ambient occlusion effects and PBR reflections that gives the glass its reflective (lower doors and side windows) effects, the newer textures brings also out the lovely wear dirt lower brickwork to the more cleaner higher building paneling realism, doors are superbly rusted to perfection. Noted is that more static elements have been added to the scene... two MHS Aviation AS350 B2 helicopters now also grace the pad, and a lot of personnel in Hi-Viz jackets... this is a debatable element? Field strips like Stewart are remote, and not hubs of aviation activity. Yes the figures look very good, but in reality very few people hang around or are to be seen working around on aprons like this... debatable. That said it is very well done with hi-quality figures. Another huge change and addition is the amazing ship sitting at the new wharf... ... ships in X-Plane scenery are usually very basic, but this... is breathtaking in realism! with so much quality and detail, and you will fly over the ship every time to arrive on RWY 36 or depart RWY 18, shame there is no name on it? The wharf is all new and extremely well done, detailed and as are the older harbour areas, and the distinct woodmill wharf that is also still excellent. Another profound aspect of the original Stewart scenery was the township itself. Obviously recreating a small township like Stewart is not new to X-Plane, but Stewart was a very significant step forward in design in that the whole town was totally recreated, that is not just with generic buildings, but the WHOLE town with EVERY SINGLE building was recreated as a custom building, no two buildings are the same unless they actually are at Stewart, and if you think about that aspect of photographing and recreating everything there, it is a mindblowing experience... but that is what was done here as a complete photographic 3d reality of the area. All the main significant buildings are correct including all other main town buildings in Churches, Schools, Port & Fishing facilities, Fuel Stations, Fire Station, (Mounted) Police, Utilities in power stations and even the standing out blue roofed Stewart Health Centre and note the sited H-Pad in front of the building. The Stewart scenery represented for X-Plane the first real fully walk-around scenery, a place to explore as per the real life Stewart township, and I have done so mostly every time I come here... it is and still is an extraordinary achievement. Any negatives.. the trees are still only 2d and the original versions, okay but just passable for a very high quality scenery like this. Lighting is still also one of the best in X-Plane, and still a high standard to meet, not just with the big in drop down lighting and nice windows, but the minute small detail in say this Coke Cola machine... the service station was the highlight in the original and it still looks as great here... Shops, garages working at night, every house, every business is lit here as per perfection. __________________________ CYBD Bella Coola, British Columbia It was three years until Beti-x released their second scenery after CZST Stewart in another British Columbia scenery and in many aspects a very, very similar layout as the former release in CYBD Bella Coola. Original Review is here: Scenery Review : CYBD - Bella Coola BC by Beti-X Yes it was again set deep within a valley, yes it had a river flowing past the runway, yes every single building was a custom building, yes it had a tricky approach and departure... and again it was all as mindblowing. The only slight difference was that the township of (lower) Bella Coola was not situated behind the airport but the airport is placed a 14 km a distant west from the main townsite. And unlike Stewart then CYBD is more of what you would call an airport than a strip of runway, it even has a terminal building, well sort of in a house with an extension built on to it. Again a few more people have been added, but in reality there was a few placed already in the original scenery, here the new members are more by the remote buildings/hangars than the terminal ramp area, but the additions are far fewer here than at Stewart. The detail was again astounding... well it did take three years to do, so what did you expect. And here it still looks as good in X-Plane as it did back then... but like Stewart the buildings have also had their textures refined and processed for v1.5, so the glass and roofs are more reflective and shiny when need to be and any metal-ness or steel buildings, water or fuel tanks now look far more realistic in nature. Textures are again sublime, asphalt is in variations, cracked and worn edges, oil spills, rubber wear, and you still have to love the faded compass detail. CYBD has one tarmac runway that is 05/23 at 4,200ft (1,280m) - Elev. 117ft. From a reviewers point of view, in that once seen, you expect other developers to be as good or better, but that is putting the bar far too high, a lot of developers have done some brilliant ground texture work and yes even a few have reached these impressive heights, but they are still the best of the best you have ever seen in a simulator. Bella Coola Valley As noted the Bella Coola scenery is far more spread-out andthere are more villages than big townships out here, so in actual custom building count they are actually quite similar, but here most are laid out around the Hwy 20 (Chilcotin-Bella Coola Highway) that winds right down from the the east of the airport of the Hagensborg township, right down through to the dwellings of going westward to Lower Bella Coola, then to Bella Coola itself. Hagensborg above and Lower Bella Coola below. One significant difference between Stewart and Bella Coola sceneries is the 2cm per pixel definition is not used (it is around the airport) but here it is the standard 50 cm per pixel definition and it shows, certainly around Lower Bella Coola and Bella Coola, this was one area I thought would be updated in this version... But the quality of the custom buildings are excellent including the Mamayu (butterfly) building. Bella Coola itself is positioned on the North Bentinck Arm inlet right, and the Government Wharf is prominent here, and very well done. Lighting is very good, but there is not a lot of it, even the runway is unlit at night, so all the lighting is restricted to just windows and street lighting, the quality however is very good. One feature that Bella Coola has that Stewart does not have is that "Winter Textures" are provided. These textures are used here under the JSGME/Generic Mod Enabler system... I have no information if they work under the more recent SAM Suite Seasons system, but I would guess as yes... The results are quite still spectacular, and are well worth the switch over with the JSGME... ______________________________ Summary Both of these former Beti-x sceneries are award winning packages that set the extremely high standards of what could be achieved in X-Plane scenery development, the sceneries in CZST Stewart and CYBD Bella Coola are both situated in Canada's British Columbia territory are now owned by the X-Plane.Org by a purchasing agreement of a change of rights. But the change of owners has not meant just a transfer of the scenery, but an update to bring the scenery up to the current X-Plane11 standards and dynamics, and even added in a few additions to make them more involving. The most significant aspect of the sceneries is that they set standards of quality that are still not even being matched today, clever then, they are still outstanding today in the sheer concept and resulting outcome. Ground textures are simply the very best in X-Plane, custom modeling of every building as per real, and not just the airport, but of the whole township itself, and the detail is overwhelming and walk-around (another first) and both sceneries took over six years to complete, both these sceneries are VFR heaven in detail and complexity. The v1.5 update shows that the Stewart and Bella Coola sceneries have lost none of their original impact and quality, added has been updates to meet the current X-Plane dynamics in burnt-in ambient occlusion effects, PBR reflections and Glass/Metalness enhancements, not forgetting the natural X-Plane advances since the original releases of the sceneries that includes better water, better weather, shaders and even Vulkan/Metal power. Additions include more ground personnel and in the Stewart scenery a new wharf and high quality ship... All in all it adds up to quite a set of packages. (the "winter" option is also still available for Bella Coola). One of the most significant aspects of this v1.50 update is that both of these former Beti-x sceneries have not thankfully been consigned to history. And to have them not only revitalised, but also refined to still provide their outstanding features to future X-Plane generations is persevering a historical element of the simulators breakthough quality scenery periods of its past, not that they were now anything but relics but are still extremely more relevant than ever and still can deliver countless hours of enjoyment... outstanding then, both Stewart and Bella Coola sceneries are even more outstanding and relevant now... a must have investment for any private or bush pilot. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the CZST Stewart v1.5 scenery by XP.Org is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgStore : CZST Stewart Price is US$25.80 (Currently on sale:$17.50) Features: faithful replica of the real airport with HD buildings and pre-rendered ambient occlusion the airport surroundings with handcrafted ground imagery and a resolution of 2cm per pixel surrounding Photoscenery at a resolution of 50 cm per pixel covering an area of over 150 square kilometers volumetric grass hand placed 3D trees and other custom objects precisely visualized town of Stewart, with every building modeled in 3ds MAX, the architecture of the buildings fits in precisely with this location dozens of hand placed POIs, such as the museum, schools, fire station, port, fuel station, hospital and many others simulator many species of HD trees and landscape with dense forest hand edited Mesh of the whole area. Edited abnormalities in terrain elevation, perfected roads etc Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac and Linux 4 Gb+ VRAM Video Card Download Size: 586 MB Current and Review version: 1.5 (September 21st 2020) ____________ Yes! the CYBD - Bella Coola v1.5 scenery by XP.Org is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : CYBD - Bella Coola Price is US$24.00 (Currently on sale:$17.50) Features: Faithful replica of the real airport with HD buildings and pre-rendered ambient occlusion Airport surroundings with handcrafted ground imagery with a resolution of 2cm per pixel Surrounding Photoscenery at a resolution of 50 cm per pixel covering an area of over 275 square kilometers Volumetric grass Hand placed 3D animated trees and other custom objects The architecture of the buildings fits in precisely with this location Winter version included 1GB of pure High-detailed fun Requirements X-Plane 11 (or XP10) Windows, Mac or Linux 4 Gb VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1Gb Current and Review version: 1.5 (September 21st 2020) _____________________________________________________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 29th September 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane v11.50 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: None Scenery or Aircraft - Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter - DGS Series by Thranda (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$34.95
Scenery Review : CYBD - Bella Coola BC by Beti-X Just under three years ago in February 2014 and small art studio called Beti-x under the Aerosoft banner released a scenery called CZST - Stewart (X-PlaneReview - Scenery Review : CZST Stewart by beti-x) At the time Beti-x noted the CZST scenery was just a test of the X-Plane simulator and our sales potential. But the CZST scenery was a game-changer for X-Plane in the sheer quality and photographic 3d reality of the area, and it easily won the X-PlaneReview's Best Scenery of 2014 award of that year as well. As time went on with not only all the kudos and the rave reviews of CZST - Stewart did we see any more action from beti-x, we then thought that our simulator was being passed on as we were not worthy of the time and investment for more scenery from the studio, but here we are with a completely new scenery in the first few days of 2017 with CYBD - Bella Coola and it feels like we are suddenly back in the brilliant scenery business. Like CZST - Stewart we are best looking at where CYBD - Bella Coola BC is first to get an overview of what we are looking at. (Google) Bella Coola is the really the whole Bella Coola Valley, located on the Central Coast, British Columbia. Situated 427 kilometers north of Vancouver and it adjoins the famous Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park. In charts it is to note not to confuse Bella Coola with Bella Bella (both as Campbell Island and Denny Island) as it is in the same area but more to the north-west. CZST - Stewart is far more further north along the same mountain range, but to fly between the two beti-x sceneries is not impossible with the right aircraft (not too big or not too small). (Google) The similarities between CZST - Stewart and CYBD - Bella Coola are quite remarkable. Both are deep in a valley, and both have wide deep canyon (fjord) river systems in their western approaches and very high mountain ranges on their western flanks. CZST came with a very large area of HD scenery, and CYBD's area is even larger with 275 square kilometers of provided mountain scenery, but the central heart is the Bella Coola Valley itself with the townships Bella Coola on the Bella Coola River itself then Lower Bella Coola and the airport is 14 km distant east from the main townsite, then just past the strip is the Hagensborg township and going still further east will take you to the famous Chilcotin plateau. First Impressions There are two direct flights to Bella Coola with one service from Vancouver International (South Terminal) or from Anahim Lake Airport CAJ4 to the east. I departed from CAJ4. To say that CYBD is buried deep in a valley is an understatement, I'm at 8500ft and if I put my wheels down I could still collect snow from the peaks, CYBD is down there, deep down there. It is simply brilliant scenery for flying in, but you have to be totally aware of the dangers with such a deep valley to navigate down. I kept my height as I flew over CYBD to get my bearings, and it is quite hard to make out the strip from this height. But it is down there nestled close to what is left of the Bella Coola River, and it is very similiar to the CZST layout, from up here most of the townships are hidden however the view is breathtaking. I have already started to descend down to the wider form of the Bella Coola River and the coastal township appears on the bank, once over the wider water it is a task to find enough space to turn around 180º to fly back around towards the airport. The approach is a dog leg to the right, so you have to carve your way in, in an S shape track at 1000ft, as the mountains now loom right over you. First up below you is Bella Coola itself, and the township is a wonder to behold, a slight bank to left is then required as you fly over Lower Bella Coola... The Valley and scenery is dominated by one long thread that is the Highway 20 (known over most of its length as the Chilcotin - Bella Coola Highway), that stretches from the Government Wharf on the Bella Coola River to the high Chilcotin range. In the scenery the focus on HWY 20 is that most of the buildings are associated with the road or surround it, but they make a brilliant arrival as you follow the tarmac thread below you, The detail is perfect and almost overwhelming. A sports ground and even wood piled on the river banks give you a sense of the Canadian countryside. But as much as you would like to enjoy the scenery, your focus is on landing at CYBD, or even in finding the airfield? The strip is buried between tall Canadian Fir, Cedar and Pine trees and there is no lead in guide at all, there is a single red light on the eastern windsock, small and mostly hidden... but something, but night operations are simply out of the question as the runway is not lit? So you look for a hole in the trees and the river on your left (going east) which is a good guide, and there CYBD is. You then need to be as low and slow as you can to be able to drop down quickly as you clear the tree line. CYBD has one tarmac runway that is 05/23 at 4,200ft (1,280m) long (elev 117ft), and in most cases that is fine, but at CYBD, you use up a lot of the tarmac getting down to the hard stuff after clearing the trees, so your thoughts are how long an area do I have to stop or do I need another go around, it is tight but I got it right every time, so there is enough space... just. The approach grass part of the field is excellent as is the stone walls to your left by the river. The Canadian Roadhouse style terminal is right in front of you as are a few hangars on the right, I really liked the Compass detailing painted on the ramp, and the huge mix of vehicles and people at the airport. As arrivals go, CYBD is an impressive place to be at, and very challenging. Beti-x CYBD - Bella Coola Atmospheric early arrivals are all very nice, but what do you get with the scenery besides a challenging arrival. So let us look at the airport itself first. The strip itself is a well worn runway 05/23 situated almost east-west. It looks like it was a grass runway, but with a tarmac construction later on. Hwy 20 curves behind the airport, and that gives you deep immersion of the scenery as it is dotted with hundreds of homesteads and farms all perfectly reproduced from the real buildings. On the main apron is that excellent Canadian ranch house style terminal and a large hangar with a set of fuel tanks set in between. The apron itself is perfectly reproduced and extremely realistic with wear and tear and maintenance patches, with that noted compass and heli pad. Landside carpark has been faithfully reproduced, and with animated vehicles, the busy Hwy 20 traffic also adds to the areas buzz. Detailing is simply exceptional... if you went VR I think it would be perfectly real on the ground. Note the local power line poles and lighting that works. Further up field are more hangars and buildings for General Aviation and Helicopters. Well done is the maintenance yard and 3d people just hanging around the GA hanger. Bella Coola is famous for its giant (and therefore dangerous) Grizzly Bears, but also for HeliSkiing, which takes GoPro thrill-seeking skiers high up onto the slopes. So the West Coast Helicopter base is here faithfully reproduced, but tight to use. There is an abundance of grass, thick and thin and expertly created fencing, it is all just overwhelming in detail. Bella Coola Valley East of the airport is the Hagensborg township. Because this scenery is so large in size at 275 square kilometers. There is no real boundary to the scenery as it just blends in to the landscape. So like in the real world you feel the populated areas by the gradual build up of buildings into a town. Then the township is reproduced perfectly, and noted here by the town store, petrol station and lodge. Going west you just follow Hwy 20. The whole 14km distance is populated with buildings along the highway, not easy to do with so many different styles and farmlet designs, but it is all here... with every single building. Next township is he smaller Lower Bella Coola. Here the town is dominated by Mamayu (butterfly) building. And a power generation station like the same in Stewart, important detail. Finally at the entrance to the Bella Coola Valley is the township of Bella Coola itself... The biggest building in the township is the green roofed Hospital and Medical centre, otherwise it is a place of ramshackled housing and apartments. Plenty of hotels to stay in and a few churches to pray in. Some of the graphic ground detail here is not as scaled as in other areas like the airport and looks more buzzy at 50 cm per pixel and not as street walking realistic as the airport at 02 cm per pixel, but still workable considering the size of the scenery . But every building in the town is here and reproduced in detail. Hwy 20 Ends at Government Wharf that is also reproduced here and is ideal for Float Planes to dock at. In context this is a huge area of scenery to reproduce, but the detail is as noted very overwhelming, it is at least double the size of Stewart with just as much or if more internal detail. The only thing I will note is that there isn't many other airports close to CYBN, certainly of any size or of value. So flying from point to point is restricted and even the closest in Bella Bella Campbell Island (CBBC) doesn't have any X-Plane scenery to use and neither is there any for Anahim Lake Airport CAJ4 either? (hint). Winter Textures We haven't finished yet with the area surrounds! X-Plane does now have a built seasons system, but it is not yet refined or completely active. So if you want a winter look you can use a set of Winter textures by xFlyer called Winter_Package or Simple Seasons. This set of textures is used with a MODS program that switches over the textures without messing about in root files, and the program is a windows program called Generic Mod Enabler or JSGME Generic Mod Enabler. The JSGME will work with the Mac, but you have to run it with Wine, and it works very well as I have used that system for years. You add in the supplied CYBD Winter textures to the Root file (top) of the MOD enabler. Then when you run the MOD enabler you switch over the folders from left to right and to reverse the season right to left. All the details of this set up and operation are provided by Beti-x in the manual. The results are winter wonderland spectacular! The apron is turned into an ice ring, and note the snow on the terminal and buildings roofs, beautiful. You will need to turn the heater up in the plane to keep warm, and finding your way to the runway is harder with the snowy edges and the frozen ice. And once airborne the landscape is a spectacular sight... I followed the Bella Coola Valley back out to the west... over lower Bella Coola and then Bella Coola itself. The MOD certainly gave you a far wider choice of options in flying into and around CYBD, either by fixed-wing or Heli services. The snow and ice coverage was excellent, and it gives you the perfect flying winter scenario to immerse yourself into the season. Lighting All night operations are of course "Verboten" at CYBD, but doesn't stop you having very early morning atmospheric departures from the airport. The dark runways make it gloomy at night but the apron and terminal are very well done to excellent if quite low key. Street lighting is excellent, but mostly the scenery is just window lighting of a remote outpost in the wilderness. Where required the lighting detail is very good... ... But mostly this is Sleepy Hollow. Summary First few days of the New Year 2017 and it looks like it already that the "Best" scenery of the year is already won, and by a long mile. Sorry to all the other really hard working scenery developers, but Beti-x is a a total level above everyone else in detail and sheer area cover in objects and all at a high quality at that. Beti-x's CZST - Stewart was a revelation, and CYBD - Bella Coola is in the same league if not a notch above, but the sheer scale of the scenery for detail is absurd and this scenery is also cheaper than their CZST -Stewart which is insane. Texture quality is overall excellent, but some signs are a bit blurry. The very good news is that Beti-x is back... on the scene and still making scenery for X-Plane. Even if one of their sceneries only comes along once in a while, you know it will be an event and a scenery to use and savour. Overall CYBD - Bella Coola is totally brillant, and highly usable with excellent value, but watch out for one of the locals... he is pretty mean and it is still his territory! ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! the CYBD - Bella Coola scenery by Beti-x is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : CYBD - Bella Coola Price is US$24.00 Features: Faithful replica of the real airport with HD buildings and pre-rendered ambient occlusion Airport surroundings with handcrafted ground imagery with a resolution of 2cm per pixel Surrounding Photoscenery at a resolution of 50 cm per pixel covering an area of over 275 square kilometers Volumetric grass Hand placed 3D animated trees and other custom objects The architecture of the buildings fits in precisely with this location Winter version included 1GB of pure High-detailed fun X-Plane 10 and X-Plane 11 compatible ______________________________________________________________________ Installation It is important to understand how the beti-x scenery in Bella Coola is assembled in X-Plane. The download package is a huge 1.12gb and expands to a massive 2.35gb when installed. So you have to make sure you have the space to install the scenery. Three folders are installed in your "Custom Scenery" Folder and must be in this order... BetiX - CYBD_A BetiX - CYBD_B_Overlay BetiX - CYBD_C_Roads BetiX - CYBD_D_Mesh If using HD Mesh Scenery v3 from Andras Fabian, or any other mesh add-on, make sure that in the scenery_packs.ini hierarchy, they are lower than our four directories and the above main file hierarchy is correct. You will also need to have your "runways to follow contours" checkbox on (render settings). If not you will have buildings situated halve way buried under the ground and trailers floating (levitating) in the air... I recommend to do all your installation and settings and then restart X-Plane from scratch to make sure they all reload in the correct order. Note: this review was done in X-Plane10, the scenery will work fine in X-Plane11, but currently as X-Plane11 is still in beta (b3), X-PlaneReview's will not switch over until there is a stable release version. Documents: Manual (very good) .pdf (10 Pages) Requirements : X-Plane 10.50+ or X-Plane 11+ Windows, Mac or Linux 1Gb VRAM Minimum. 4GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1Gb Note: it is a big area scenery, but I found no framerate issues as the scenery is very efficient. ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 6th January 2017 Copyright©2017: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.45 / Checked install in X-Plane11b3 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake by SimCoders : Environment Engine by xEnviro Scenery or Aircraft - Bonanza F33A HD Series by Carenado (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$26.95
Interview: Beti-x Lead Developer, Peter Kubek This is an interview that I had with Peter Kubek, the lead developer at Beti-x. XPR: Who are the people behind Beti-x? What are their roles in the team? We have a core team of four members, a tree skilled specialist and one superb programmer! We're also currently working on mobile and casual games. Now after Stewart we can also be called an addon developer! XPR: How did the team join together with an ambition to create amazing scenery? As a game developer and artist I wondered how all of those nice sceneries were created, and of course what can be done better. That was only a small step to start work on our own scenery. The idea of creating scenery for x-plane 10 was growing longer, the team were excited about it, so we decided to go ahead with it very fast. But as we needed to work mainly on other projects CZST - Stewart was done with my collegue in our spare time. XPR: Why did you choose to develop for X-Plane 10 and not FSX? We made that decision for several reasons. The x-plane community creates very good free sceneries, but i personally felt a lack of high quality and detailed sceneries that exist for FSX. After reading various flightsim forums we felt an opportunity to bring a scenery package of what x-plane users want. Other FSX scenery developers don't show any interest to bring something special to x-plane users. Last but not least we felt the big potential of X-plane 10. XPR: Where is the Beti-x office situated? The Beti-x office is situated in Prague, Czech Republic. XPR: What is the ultimate goal of Beti-x? Definitely full time development for X-Plane 10. Speed up development time and therefore release at least 3-5 sceneries a year. Unfortunately the X-Plane 10 market is still so small that sales didn't even cover the development costs. perhaps with time the situation will change. XPR: How long did it take you and the team to develop CZST Stewart? To get familiar with the system of development for XP-10 we started on NZQN - Queenstown. When we discovered enough about how it works we started on CZST - Stewart. As I mentioned before, two people worked for 6 months during weekends and spare time. XPR: How were you expecting the release of CZST to go, did you get more press than anticipated? To be honest I was surprised with the positive feedback and all reaction from the users and public. I received plenty of very nice emails, this gave us huge satisfaction and reward for our hard work. We're proud of all reviews and really happy with that. I want to thank all who supported us. XPR: What inspired you to create CZST? What do you love most about the scenery? That spectacular view on the mighty mountains surrounding airport and the reflection on the water of portland canal is scenic. View on Stewart is not boring even after many months of development. Near Stewart are located many interesting airports that could be created in the future. XPR: Have you or any of the team actually ever visited Stewart? if so are you pleased with how Beti-x's version relates to the real one? Unfortunately nobody from the team wasn't in Stewart personally. But I hope we will visit Stewart in the future. We've done research through plenty of pictures on the internet and other materials. I would say our airport and town are true copy of the reality. XPR: How is it possible to get remarkable ground textures? Thanks for the compliment We spent many hours on the ground textures. We tried to do our best and I hope we were successful. XPR: What are your future plans regarding x-plane? Do you (and the team) intend to make more scenery in the local area of Stewart? Plans are great, but as I mentioned all depends if we will be able to dedicate more time to development for XP-10. These days we have two other sceneries in progress in the area of Stewart. But we would love to work also on the other parts of world. We want to bring more life to the sceneries, such as animations of the airport staff, ground traffic, trees animations, support of World Traffic etc.In future scenery builds do you intend to cover a larger area than Stewart? I like the idea of sceneries with larger coverage, similar to ORBX. Various POI, geographical anchor points, regionalization of the XP-10. But on tasks like these must be engaged much bigger team and it's not possible to fund it yet. Possibilities are great, we'll see what future bring. XPR: What interesting sceneries or airports can we expect in 2014? We have two sceneries in development and both are located in BC. Same detail like Stewart, not only the airport but the town and surrounding area. I'll see how will go the schedule on these airports, but we'd love to make one bigger airport from the different part of world. XPR: Will Beti-x ever develop Aircraft as well as scenery? Within the XP-10 community there are plenty of high quality airplane developers, so we want to stick with sceneries. I would like to thank Peter for taking the time to have this interview. If you would like to find out more about CZST - Stewart on the x-plane.org store then go here: CZST Stewart To visit the Beti-x Developer website click here To read an extensive review of CZST - Stewart then go here: Interview by Joe Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews
Scenery Review : CZST Stewart by beti-x Any new scenery developers for X-Plane have to be brave. Creating really good scenery is hard and X-Plane has a smaller market and hence a smaller return on your investment in the sheer amount of work that has to be put in. Part of the problem is the chicken and the egg problem, as many new users won't come over to X-Plane because it doesn't deliver in the sort of quality and quantity that the other larger simulators can deliver and so until X-Plane can deliver that then it will still have that smaller user base and round and around it goes. Why invest so much time and effort in X-Plane when you can do the same amount of work and have a bigger market to sell your product to... And then make more money in doing so. Simple facts. But there is more to the deal than what it looks like on the surface. X-Plane users may be a smaller user base, but they will spend more on quality than on other simulators. Secondly is that your market is much more open and you can select areas you want to do and have that portion of the market to yourself, than rather be one of several versions of the same product fighting in a crowded market. So you can't have it both ways, and that is why there has been so many new entrants willing to give X-Plane a go in creating scenery and hoping that the market will expand. At one point the balance will change, but we are not at that point yet. X-Plane will however get to that tipping point a lot quicker though if it acquires more scenery like beti-x's - CZST Stewart. CZST Stewart As for being a remote place and unless you are otherwise in the Arctic wilderness or in the Australian Desert then Stewart in British Columbia is a very lonely place. Drive from Vancouver the state's capital and the journey will take you just over 17 hours and just under 1500 kilometers, give and take a hungry or angry bear or two. So the other options are Prince Rupert (442 km, 6 hours) or Juneau in Alaska. So flying to Stewart is obviously the easiest option. But that option is not easy either because Stewart's Airport (CZST) is only a strip and very small one at that... Very Small. First View I wanted to fly from Juneau to Stewart but it was just a little to far (and slow in a GA) in time required, so it was in a Canadian Twin Otter from Digby Island (Prince Rupert) that I made the trip up the Portland Canal to Stewart. You could also use Annette island or Ketchikan International airport, or you can fly in to Stewart with a sea-plane as well as there is a (small) base there. Flying up the high sided inlet is an experience with brilliant views. In the distance as the inlet forks, Stewart come into view on the right fork by the Salmon River. The surprise is that not only is there an airstrip, but also a whole town. And I mean the whole town of Stewart. There is no default autogen scenery to be seen anywhere here either. Flying a low pass and your eyes take all of the scenery in. Everything is here, and I mean everything it is a VFR heaven. My next trick was that I had to turn around to land on Runway 18. That is easier said than done, and so there was no option but to climb up high and find the space to turn around and drop back down. The area is around Stewart simply spectacular with high snow capped mountainous ranges in all directions. Stewart from this height is nestled far away deep down in the inlet. Stewart is at the head of the Portland Canal... Which is not a really canal at all but an (Portland) inlet, The inlet is also the American (Alaskan) and Canadian border which runs the whole length of the inlet and just slightly north of Stewart. The reason for Stewart being here is because of the gold and silver mining industry that dominated the early economy of the town. Nearby Hyder, Alaska, boomed with the discovery of rich silver veins in the upper Salmon River basin in 1917 and 1918. Hyder then became an access and supply point for the mines on the United States side of the border, while Stewart served as the port for Canadian mining activity. Mining and mining exploration is still an industry of the town as now is a large logging industry. Once there was 10,000 people living in Stewart, but today the population is only just under 500 (494). Sadly today Stewart is a dying town, but Stewart is still wanted by Hollywood as Insomnia (Al Pacino), Eight Below (Paul Walker), and the exterior shots from John Carpenter's science fiction classic The Thing (1982 film) were filmed in the around the area and in the nearby glacial mountains. Installation It is important to understand how the beti-x scenery in Stewart is assembled in X-Plane. The download package is 406.40mb and expands to 730.80mb when installed. You don't just drop the scenery into the Custom Scenery folder but to use an installation program to install it for you. If you are on a Mac you have to make sure your security settings will allow you to open the package (mine didn't until I switched them off) Then you do the install by selecting the X-Plane folder you want the scenery installed into, when the install is completed you will have three separate folders that make up the completed scenery. BetiX - CZST_A_Overlay BetiX - CZST_B BetiX - CZST_C_Mesh You will also need to have your "runways to follow contours" checkbox on (render settings). If not you will have buildings situated halve way buried under the ground and trailers floating (levitating) in the air... I recommend to do all your installation and settings and then restart X-Plane from scratch to make sure they all reload in the correct order. In my Aerosoft version I found the manual - 10 Pages (English and German) buried in the "B" folder. Landing on Runway 18 Stewart has only one asphalt runway (more a sealed gravel strip). 18/36 (3872ft) Elev. 24ft. Landing on runway 36 is over water but still slightly difficult but more of a straight forward approach. (note: if you use either of the runway landing approaches in the default 10nm setting, be ready to adjust your heading quickly... both settings for either runway 18/36 will pop you up heading straight into mountain!) Landing on RWY 18 is for a skilled approach. VFR rules certainly apply here at CZST, low cloud and any gusting wind between the high peaks around you will make your life very interesting. Even on a a relatively calm, clear day the approach needs all your attention. The runway is actually slightly offset so you have to correct your path at the final moments, and even before that point you have to avoid high obstacles and you have to keep very close to the left side of the inlet while descending. You can early on use the Glacier Highway to guide you by sitting directly in the center between the highway and the tree lined wall on your left. The final approach has a last minute illusion as well, in that it looks on a downward angle like a straight run on to the asphalt, but in reality the asphalt is sitting slightly lower than the sloping ground before it (the early part of the runway is slightly sloping downwards), get it wrong and you find your landing will hit the slightly higher dirt ground coming up before you find the asphalt. The radar altimeter doesn't work for you because it is reading the constantly changing lower then higher ground heights and not the reading correct runway height. Coming in again on RWY 18 you will be aware of the illusion more this second time around and will over-compensate now by going too high and land (or glide) too far down the runway. The trick is to set your landing point and just aim for that and not allow the outside visuals or instruments to mess with your point of reference. If you want to land on Runway 18 in poor conditions and bad visibility... Well good luck with that - Amen. CZST You can't really call CZST an airport... more like a two door large shed, If you are looking for a terminal - forget it. But do note the excellent gravel and asphalt. The runway and surrounds are done in 2cm per pixel depth and the detail shows. The volumetric grass is also excellent and well placed to be totally realistic, foliage is well done to fill in not only the town surrounds but right up the sides of the mountains to give continuous unbroken coverage over the whole scenery area. I am a scenery junkie... I admit it. Nothing more excites me than great scenery. The scenery that really excites me is scenery so realistic you feel like you are really standing there, in that place, looking around you and seeing the real area and things you can almost touch as they are so real. In that context Beti-x's scenery is simply outstanding, It is like being in Google maps or better still Stewart BC itself. At eye level you feel you are really walking around Stewart, turn this way or that way and every SINGLE building is represented. Everything... Moving in the area behind the Terminal (Shed) you walk down Main Street (yes it is called that) and it just blows you away with the detail. The further around you travel the more of Stewart you will see. From the old service station to the repair workshops and the old concrete blocks. It just goes on, street after street of real recreated buildings... It is mind boggling. You can spend hours moving around this place and see everything and nothing is copied or duplicated. Even the famous "Fire Hall" (now the Stewart Museum) is here and so are the other main town buildings in the church, schools, port & fishing facilities, fuel station, and even the standing out blue roofed Stewart Health Centre. I recommend to have your traffic running, not in say "Los Angeles Downtown", but at least in "Chicago Suburbs". Beti-x has active collision detection built in so the traffic will run correctly on the false ground texture layers, this also means you can land your helicopter anywhere as well without falling through the scenery. With the traffic running the town is very buzzy and the traffic is running right out of the area in both directions. Going East out of town is the timber yard (over the bridge) and RV park. The "Welcome to Stewart" sign is also perfectly reproduced as is the wall mural. To show the sheer detailing in Stewart then admire the towns electricity supply station... really excellent work and very realistic. West is out of town still on the Glacier Highway is going past the small port facilities and the Granduc marine terminal. Then you cross over the US/Can border until you get to Hyder. Beti-x has recreated the small town of Hyder as well as Stewart itself. Every building in Hyder is again recreated and placed as in real town, faded walls and wooden buildings are the signs of a hard life in this remote area. The Hyder port (pier) is here as well. Finally in the South-west is the Stewart Water (Storage) and logging pens, All through out the scenery there are bundles or mounds of stacked wood, in either the wood being stored or packed. Night-Lighting With a location like this in the middle of ranges of scenic mountains the fading light of the dawn or dusk is going to be spectacular... On this front Stewart does not disappoint. In the lesser light the lighting on the buildings start to come on. As the night closes in the full lighting of Stewart emerges and it is very good with HDR on. There is a lot of down lighting and pockets of street lighting. All windows are creatively different and nothing is repeated in the detail, brilliant small detailing like Coke machines and signs make it perfect. However you will need your torch on you at the airport as the ramp is quite dark. Highlights are the well lit Service Station and Telecom compound that is excellent. Other out of town highlights are the viewing point parking area and the very spooky Marine Terminal brooding very authentic in the dark. Frame-Rate With all this amount of specified scenery it is going to cost you somewhere, and you will also be in need of your render settings set to "Extreme" to bring out the full impact of the quality of the scenery. I was restricted to "Too Much" in the settings and as the images show in many areas it gets a little buzzy. But beti-x have tried to soften the blow. As noted by the runway the textures are 2cm per pixel depth, moving around the town and that jumps that then to 50cm per pixel resolution for the 150 square kilometers around the scenery. For the size and depth with all that high quality 3ds MAX created objects your getting a good deal for your resolution. I found you can get a balance with the "Too Much" setting and still enjoy the scenery with out it dropping into the dreaded teens. The bonus is that there is nothing else out side the installed scenery that could otherwise drop your frame-rate down. Conclusion beti-x has noted that CZST Stewart their first scenery for X-Plane, and a dip into our market. As a scenery there is no doubt that it is one of the very best scenery products created for X-Plane. So if we want more excellent scenery from beti-x then we have to support them for them to support us. The main thing to note with this scenery is that in most scenery the focus is on usually the airport itself and it's immediate surroundings. CZST is nothing like that. It really turns the concept upside down in that the scenery as a whole package is the destination and not just the focus on the airport. Flying over Stewart is getting a totally realistic view of the destination. Not just a simulator point of view but the real town of Stewart point of view. Yes a location like Stewart allows you to deliver that. (and so does FSX Orbix scenery), but here it is for X-Plane users and not FSX/P3D, and that is what FSX/P3D users buy and have more of in a choice of quality scenery than X-Plane. CZST can be a game changer in X-Plane (and we do now have other great add-on scenery), but this extreme level of detail is well worth using and having as part of your X-Plane world. Besides not only the visual points of this excellent scenery it is also a great challenging scenery to fly into and out of. You won't get a Boeing Airliner in here, but it is a General Aviation/Seaplane (and small commuter aircraft) heaven sent destination. Overall CZST Stewart by beti-x is simply outstanding scenery and well worth your investment as a destination and is outstanding in value... __________________________________ Yes! the CZST Stewart scenery by beti-x is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgStore : CZST Stewart Price is US$25.80 (CZST Stewart scenery is only available for X-plane10) Developers Site : beti-x Review By Stephen Dutton 19th February 2014 ©copyright 2014 : X-Plane Reviews Technical Requirements: Windows , MAC or Linux X-Plane 10 (not compatible with X-Plane 9) 4GB RAM/1GB+ VRAM - 1.5GB HD - Version 1 (last updated Feb 10th ,2014) Review System Specifications: Computer System: - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27” - 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb Software: - Mac OS Mavericks 10.9 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.25 (final) Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Aircraft DHC-6 Twin Otter v970+ 3D v2.0 - Pedrovl - free (.org - DHC-6 Twin Otter)